Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Morris Jones
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Indeed part of the problem with my friend's existing computer is that it's an old XP machine, and can't be upgraded. It's also painfully slow.
Nov. 30, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
What Jeff said. Drop Mary a note.
Nov. 27, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
1. Have helpers at the game.

2. Scoring manually empowers them to hold their own team matches at home – and it's still how the ACBL tournaments are run.
Nov. 27, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
At my non-Life Master club BridgeMojo I've held three Swiss Teams events this year. (It's our first year.)

We play a shortened game on Monday evenings, usually 14 boards. So for the Swiss Team games, I planned to play three five-board matches. Nearly all of my players had never played a Swiss Team game before.

For the first game, hardly any of the regular partnerships had teammates. Before the game I collected all of the partnerships who wanted to play, and the day of the game I generated a random number sequence and formed teams. I knew if I got involved in matching up partnerships I might have some ‘splainin’ to do. https://www.random.org/sequences/

For my first game I had 11 teams. I thought I could handle having one round-robin. It worked fairly well, but I knew the third match was going to be dicey since I couldn't play a two-match round-robin. I tried running two three-board matches for the third-round round-robin. It was sort of okay since the bottom three teams were there, but it was a bit of a mess. My second game had 10 teams, third had 8, and they all learned more about what's really going on.

Before the first match, I tried to project a score sheet and walk people through the mechanics of keeping score. It was useful, but it also seemed to be “too much information.” I'm not sure how else to do it though. Keep it as simple as you can. (Forget strategy.)

All in all I managed to hold three games, got results, and most everyone had fun. Let me see if I can summarize some of the points I learned over the process.

* Make the event “reservations only” and do the best you can to have an even number of teams play. Anything you can do to avoid round-robins will pay off at this level. If possible, have some standby pairs or players.

* GET HELP – have three or four experienced team players on hand to guide players to their tables, and help with the scoring comparison. Having another person to post scores and new assignments on the white board is really handy.

* Emphasize that in a team match EVERYONE KEEPS SCORE. When they arrive at the tables for the game I suggest having four Team Score sheets on every table, one in each position.

* Before the first match, with everyone at their home tables, make this announcement: “Everyone, write your team number in the box in the upper right.” Then invite the E/W pairs to cross to the other section.

* After the first crossover, advise them to ask their opponents for their team number, and make note of it on their score card. (If they can find the “Vs.___” field, so much the better.)

* As the match winds down, remind them to confirm the recorded scores with their opponents before returning to their teammates.

* It's a good idea to have Instant Scorers on hand at every table, and remind people that there are instant scorers on the back of the table markers, and the bid-box cards.

* Don't start your team numbers with 1. Players don't understand that their team number is 4, and their table assignment for the first match is B2. You'll hear “we're team B2.” At my last game I helped separate these two things cognitively by assigning my first team as team #41, and up from there. ACBLScore handles this.

* Here's a big one that took me way too long to figure out: I thought I would save time by directing people to their next match the way they do at tournaments: “North-South go to A4, East-West go to B4.” No. That doesn't work. When the new assignments are up, tell all of the players to go to their newly-assigned table with their teammates. Once everyone is at their table, seated, say, “Now, east-west pairs cross over to the other section.” Honestly – it saves time!

* You might consider not using a timer for the first game. It's okay, but it's going to take a while. Consider going with three six-board matches the first time. Having helpers becomes important.

To address your specific questions … I think I covered #1 …

2. Keep it low-tech – that's part of the charm of playing Swiss Teams. It also matches what they'll find at the tournaments. Use one set of boards, 1-7 on table 1, 8-14 on table 2, 15-21 table 3, 22-28, table 4, and you're done. Shuffle deal and play. It's very charming, and emphasizes to the players, “Hey, we could do this at home!”

3. Don't use Bridgemates. Even if you wanted to, you'd have to find a third-party program to do Bridgemate Swiss Teams. ACBLScore doesn't support it. I put out tournament-standard reporting slips and have the winning captain bring them to the desk. I try to keep everything the way they'll see it done at a Sectional.

4. You can tell ACBLScore to do Win/Loss, or victory points, and have it pair, or give it pairings. I did victory points, and had ACBLScore do the pairings. I DID NOT EXPLAIN what was going on. People were mostly content not knowing. If someone asked about the points on the results, I could explain to them privately. It does have the advantage of matching what they'll see at the tournaments.

We just had our third game, and it went fairly smoothly: https://results.bridgemojo.com/ See here: https://results.bridgemojo.com/181119E/181119E.TXT

Good luck!
Nov. 27, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
In Audrey Grant's Bridge Basics 1 you play a few hands of whist before advancing to Auction Bridge. It manages to include all of the things you mention: long suits, sequences, and so on.
Nov. 1, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
If people are buying bridge tables, bidding boxes, cards, and books, I'm tickled pink. Like the author said, the game “sucks you in.”
Oct. 26, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Mike, it's true that you can register a domain name, and when someone types it in (or uses it as a link) you can redirect to bridgewebs. But the location that appears in the browser, the bookmark that's saved, and the link that appears in a Google search is not your domain name – it's bridgewebs.com/something. I know I'm being nerdy about it, but that's a point of pride to me. :)

If I were running bridgewebs, I would build in virtual hosting so a club manager or ACBL district could refer their domain name to my server and use my web app and keep their branding in place. It would provide real value to their customers (or at least the geeky ones like me).
Oct. 5, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I think the hardest part of running a modern bridge club is the IT work involved (Information Tech). I feel like my background as a software engineer gave me several major advantages:

I could build my own web site that's unique, “mobile first” responsive design, and suits me better than any of the barely-usable offerings from bridgewebs or pianola.

I host my own domain names. I cringe every time I see a site like District 23's that start with http://www.bridgewebs.com/…; instead of their own beautiful domain name. It's demeaning.

I run my own email server and mailing lists, which is a stoopid thing to do, but it gives me better communication with my players and my students, and infinite flexibility.

I built and customized my online results page using Matt Kidd's ACBLMerge and my own Linux servers. (Still needs a mobile-first design. I'm going to work on that.)

I have a little bit of ease with badly-behaved Windows software.

This last point pretty much describes every piece of bridge-related software that we're forced to use. ACBLScore has become a massive pile of manure that only works correctly if you hold your tongue in the right place. The Bridgemate Control Software has its own quirks and usability problems. The Bridgemate Mobile App server only works about half the time.

All of the software we work with has morphed way beyond good “usability.” The cognitive load required to operate the tools successfully is enormous.

For a good time, wire up Bridge Composer with Big Deal, and add a graphic and a message to your hand records. For a better time, automate the process in ActionScript (or whatever that language is – I haven't done that yet.)

The rest of the stuff is easy, and sometimes fun.

All that said – dealing with petty complaints and alpha-male bridge bullies is bad enough that I'm about ready for a year off, just so I can play some bridge instead of directing.
Oct. 3, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
What if a hand is “published” in the form of a tournament or club hand record? I've never copyrighted my hand records, nor have I seen a © on an ACBL or TheCommonGame hand record. Is something created by any random algorithm a creative work? Here's a “yes” example: Any painting by Jackson Pollack. :)
Oct. 3, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I have this thought about once every 50 hands I play: “That was a great teaching hand. I should save it for a class.” Of course I never do. :)

It's true that the hands from other teachers and sources should not be considered public domain, but that leaves a virtually inexhaustible supply available. It's just a mining problem.

(It's worth considering if a bridge deal, under its necessary boundary conditions, is a piece of intellectual property. Was it created, or discovered? Does it matter?)
Oct. 3, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I can't recall me or one of my partners bidding out of turn any time in the past year or two. (I was on the “non-offending” side of the event that inspired my article.) I also can't recall using a jump shift in an uncontested auction in the past year or two. :)
July 13, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
“I am not sure that the younger generation is as motivated by wealth as the bridge generation is/was.” Yes, I've been thinking about leveraging that somehow.

They say that the current generations are more interested in having experiences than acquiring things. What better experience is there than developing skill at bridge?

I'm not sure what to do with that thought yet … I'd love to see if anyone watches “Double Dummy” or “The Kid's Table” when they're finally available to view.

So true that our games are undervalued. When I started my new game I charged more than any of the neighboring clubs, for a two-hour game instead of 3-1/2. Some said “you're charging too much,” but you couldn't tell it by my attendance. I'm definitely not in a price-sensitive market.
July 13, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
When I first became involved in unit governance, STaCs were a way to “give back” to the clubs who had to give up games because of local sectionals. Now with six STaCs available to me through the year, it would seem to be favoring the clubs to the detriment of the units. So that's the name of that tune.

My own club is only six months old, meeting for a short NLM game on Monday evenings. I priced my game at a premium, so there's no need to raise the fee for STaCs or most special games. Instead, players stay away because I hold an 18-board game on STaC night instead of the usual 14 boards.
July 9, 2018
.

Bottom Home Top